3 October 2015

Genesis 41:53 – 42:6

“Now Joseph was governor over the land; it was he who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph’s brothers came and bowed themselves before him with their faces to the ground.” (v. 6)

Psalm: Psalm 102:12-28


An awful lot has happened to Joseph since his brothers sold him into slavery. As events transpired, he ended up working for an Egyptian captain, but was wrongfully accused of trying to seduce his master's wife. He was imprisoned, and successfully interpreted the dreams of two fellow prisoners, who just happened to be employees of the Pharaoh. Later, when Pharaoh was troubled with dreams of his own, Joseph was called upon to interpret, which he did, and the king believed his predictions of great famine to come. He was set in the highest political position beneath the king, in charge of the economic policy and trade in an area of great instability. It's the original 'rags to riches' tale.

Back in Canaan and the surrounding region, everyone would be affected by the shortage, not least Joseph's family. All but one of his brothers make the long trip in desperation, only to find there a powerful man, unrecognisable from the brother they sold into slavery.

Although there is still much to happen in this story, this is the place where Joseph's dreams are finally realised. The mental images he had of his brothers bowing down to him have come true, but not in the way, or by the means, anyone would have expected.

To Ponder

  • If Joseph had never shared his dreams with his brothers, they probably wouldn't have come true! This observation is often used to encourage people to tell others the dreams and plans God gives them. When is discernment and wisdom also needed, about the timing of such revelations?
  • The younger (perhaps arrogant) Joseph may have had visions of glory, but he had no idea what strife, agony, and hard work was to come in order to reach his destiny. If he had known that at the start (and had a choice), would he have chosen the simple life of his homeland, or to be saviour of his people? To what extent is this the true choice that must be faced by all who yearn for public office?
  • Famine is not uncommon in the world today. What does this passage tell us about the economic wisdom of keeping back some to spare, in order to share it with neighbours in times of need? 

Bible notes author

The Revd Andrew Murphy

Andrew Murphy is married to Emily and they have two children, Phoebe (aged 4) and Benjamin (aged 18 months). Andy is the superintendent minister of the Market Harborough Circuit (a small circuit in the south of Leicestershire, and over the border into Northants). Previously, Andy’s ministry was based in Barwell in the Hinckley Circuit for eight years. And before that, he trained at the Wesley Study Centre in Durham, close to his home-town of Consett. Andy has a passion to help God’s people grow in faith, and occasionally writes hymns, sketches and songs. Spare time includes trips to play parks, watching Disney films or Postman Pat, reading Mr Men books, visiting Middle Earth, and reminiscing over the good old days of supporting Newcastle United. In the picture, Andy is the one in blue (and the snowman’s name is Olaf)!